Lionel Messi could find it difficult to carry his scintillating club form into the Copa America, according to former Argentina international Claudio Caniggia.
World Cup runners-up Argentina head into the tournament, which begins in Chile in June, as favourites, but some anticipate the team’s success may rest on Messi’s ability to perform on the international stage.
Messi has scored 49 goals in as many matches for Barca in all competitions this season – a ratio that would serve as a huge boost to Argentina’s chances.
“A lot is asked of Messi,” said Caniggia, who won 50 caps for the national team. “Really, he is the best he has been with Barcelona, but he’ll be asked to do the same for Argentina.
“Sometimes it is difficult because he has played in the same team since he was 14, with concepts of the game and players that he knows very well.
“Everybody asks why he doesn’t play with Argentina in the same way he plays with Barcelona, but it’s not so easy. It’s easy to say it, but not so easy to do it.
“Messi is a great player. I hope he can bring Argentina the Copa America.
“He has played another World Cup at a great level and hopefully he maintains well physically and doesn’t suffer any injury.
“I think Argentina needs a great Messi and Messi can give a lot to Argentina.”
Argentina have been drawn in Group B, alongside Uruguay, Paraguay and Jamaica.